Constipation is a common pediatric problem worldwide. This study aims to describe the clinical characteristics of constipation in Jordanian children according to their age groups.
All patients with constipation managed at our pediatric gastroenterology service between September 2009 and December 2012 included. Hospital charts were reviewed. Demographic data, clinical characteristics and final diagnosis were recorded. Data was analyzed according to the following age groups: infants, pre-school, school age and adolescents and gender.
During the study period, 137 patient identified.11 patients excluded. Number (percentage) of patients according to age groups were; Infants 43 (34.1%), pre-school 55 (43.7%), school age 25(19.8%), and adolescents three (2.4%). Males were 54.8%. There was no statistical gender difference in all age groups. The most common symptom in all age groups was dry, hard stool. Infrequent defecation was found in almost half the patients. Fecal incontinence was more common in school aged in comparison with preschool and adolescents. Abdominal pain was seen in almost 40% of our constipated children. Prevalence noticed to increase with age. Girls were affected than boys. Fecal mass in the rectum was the most common physical finding. It affected boys more than girls. Functional constipation was the most common underlying cause.
Clinical characteristics of constipation in children vary according to age group and gender. These differences need to be considered while dealing with constipated children.
Key words: constipation, infants, preschool, school age, adolescents.
Clinical Characteristics of Constipation in Jordanian Children:
Constipation is a common problem in children. The worldwide prevalence varies between 0.7 % and 29.6% 1.Constipation is the cause of 3 to 5 % of physician visits by children 2, and accounts for almost one fourth of the pediatric gastroenterology consults 3.It has a significant impact on the use of and cost of medical services 4. Childhood constipation is a family issue. It affects children’s physical, social, emotional and school functioning negatively 5.
On the same time; constipation is a cause of anxiety and concern to the parents 6. The epidemiology and clinical profile of childhood constipation in developed countries are properly described. More and more studies from developing countries are describing this problem in their population 7, 8, 9, 10.
As there is no previously published data from our community, the true size of the problem and the clinical spectrum of the disease in our population are unknown. This study describes the clinical characteristics and etiological profile in constipated children according to age groups.
Patients and Methods:
The study included 137 constipated children who were evaluated between Sept 2009 and December 2012 at the Pediatric Gastroenterology Outpatient Clinic at Alkarak Teaching Hospital,...